The associate professor of classical languages was selected as the first faculty member to be honored by the endowed professorship that was created by the university’s board of trustees in spring 2022.
Kristina Meinking, an associate professor in classical languages, has been selected as the inaugural Trustee Chair for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching.
The three-year endowed professorship was created by the Elon University Board of Trustees in spring 2022 to recognize an Elon faculty member for excellence in teaching and support in their promotion of undergraduate teaching excellence.
Unique to the professorship is that nominations can be made from across the Elon community, with the nomination process providing students, faculty and staff the opportunity to nominate and recognize outstanding teachers at Elon.
Meinking is known for her commitment to innovation, inclusivity and engagement as both a teacher and a mentor, with the selection committee noting the impact she has had on student learning and mentoring. Her campus leadership in the areas of teaching, learning and assessment as well as her contributions to the scholarship of teaching and learning beyond Elon supported her selection as the inaugural Trustee Chair for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching.
“This great honor is a recognition of the ways that Dr. Meinking is impacting her students, advancing their development and contributing to how those in higher education approach engaged and impactful teaching and learning,” said President Connie Ledoux Book. “We congratulate her on this endowed professorship and thank her for her inspired leadership with her students, with her colleagues and on our campus.”
Meinking joined the faculty at Elon in 2010 as a visiting professor of Latin and classical studies in the Department of World Languages and Cultures. She was promoted to assistant professor in 2012, associate professor in 2017 and will start the next academic year as a full professor. Since 2011 she has coordinated the Classical Studies Program, which was elevated to a major in 2021.
An Elon colleague wrote in support of Meinking’s nomination that she is “an innovative and thoughtful teacher-scholar-mentor and her passion for teaching has made me think differently about the way I engage in my career and think about higher education. Her dedication to her craft is exceptional and she serves as a role model for many on our campus of how to be an innovative and thoughtful educator.”
Meinking served as associate director for the Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning from 2017 to 2019, and in 2019 began serving as the assistant director for assessment in the Elon Core Curriculum.
An Elon colleague noted that Meinking is eager to share her insights into teaching and learning, and those innovations have a ripple effect across individuals, departments and institutions. “In my case and doubtless others, the individuals she affects disseminate their own Kristina-inspired innovations,” the colleague wrote.
Within the classroom, Meinking says she places a high value on collaboration and the importance of student-driven, student-led learning. “Our focus is on the questions we have, the shared experience we build and how these spark an inquiry or habit of mind that extends far beyond the world of the course,” Meinking wrote to support her nomination for the professorship. “I believe that I have a responsibility to facilitate each student’s development of their critical and analytical capacities and to disrupt the model of passive learning to which most students have become accustomed.”
Meinking has redesigned the Latin curriculum at Elon to meet students where they are, relieve anxiety and create community while still challenging them to excel. Former students wrote in support of Meinking’s nomination, noting that her classes always involved some measure of self-reflection and self-evaluation, with one noting that the process taught her to think more deeply and more carefully about the progress of learning rather than just the outcome.
An alumnus who now teaches Latin wrote that “Dr. Meinking is a radiant example of all that Elon promises in its professors in that she builds an academic community that is professionally capable, driven in research, globally conscious and dedicated to advancement.”
The Trustee Chair for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching was created by the board following Elon’s recognition by U.S. News & World Report as the No. 1 institution nationally for undergraduate teaching excellence. Elon was recognized by U.S. News & World Report as the top institution nationally for undergraduate teaching excellence for a second straight year in fall 2022.